Ricciardo braced for long F1 slog before McLaren back on form

Daniel Ricciardo says he is a bracing himself for it to take some time for McLaren to return to full competitiveness in Formula 1.

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren MCL36

The Australian has yet to score a championship point so far this season, with a retirement from last week’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix adding to his troubled start to 2022.

As well as being forced to miss the final pre-season test in Bahrain because of COVID, McLaren’s MCL36 is lacking downforce and the team is currently working on fixes to get itself nearer the front of the grid.

Ricciardo says he is remaining realistic about just how long it will take McLaren to deliver the necessary upgrades to its car – so he is not anticipating any swift leap forward in pace.

Asked by Autosport if he was prepared for a long slog, Ricciardo said: “Yeah, I think so – and I think you have to mentally.

“Look, if in two races' time, we're fighting for top five, then okay, we'll take it and that's a bonus.

“But I think mentally to remain, let's say, calm and chill and level-headed and sensible, you need to realise that we're not looking for three or four tenths. It's over a second if we want to fight the wins.

“So I doubt it's going to come overnight. We have to just be patient. And I think for the wellness of the team, it's important to do that. It’s too early to cause a ruckus.”

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

While McLaren’s current form is not where the team hoped to be, Ricciardo has faith that the team has the capability to turn things around over the course of this season.

“If it comes, it'll come a bit later than certainly desired,” he said “Without getting ahead [of myself], if we were to come and win a race at some point this year, I wouldn't actually be surprised because I still believe in the team and the processes we have in place.

“I think we have the people in place to get the job done. And I know I have 100 percent faith and belief in people like Andreas [Seidl].

“Obviously a week ago, it was a bit of a, let’s call it, crisis mode. I think we've quickly got ourselves out of that.

“But it's true we've got to turn the ship around and I think he's at least one of the best guys to do it. So ask me in six months' time and maybe I won't be surprised with where we are.”

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